Feeding for California Desert Tortoise

Feeding for California Desert Tortoise

Feeding for California Desert Tortoise – By Dr. Barton C. Huber

What they like to eat:

• Various types of sprouts (see below)
• Apples (remember to remove the seeds as they are poisonous)
• Banana
• Broccoli
• Beets
• Cabbage
• Cantaloupe
• Carrots (cooked or shredded)
• Corn
• Cranberry
• Dark leafy greens
• Endive
• Escarole
• Grapes
• Green Beans
• Loquats
• Mushrooms
• Mustard Greens
• Oranges- chopped and skinned
• Peas
• Pears
• Potato- cooked
• Rice- Cooked
• Strawberry
• Sweet Potato
• Tofu
• Turnip Greens
• Zucchini

Edible Plants

• Nasturtium
• Prickly Pear Cactus
• Creeping Charlie
• Dandelion
• Grapes
• Aloe Vera
• Wandering Jew
• Hibiscus
• Roses
• White Clover
• Dichondra
• Duck Weed
• St. Augustine
• Water Hyacinth
• Strawberry


Sprouted seeds are high in essential vitamins and minerals. Sprouts are easy to grow and a tasty way to increase the intake of necessary vitamins and minerals.
For sprouting you will need a co11tainer to hold the sprou1S in, a mason jar with a screen top is what I usually use. You can also use a gallon ziplock bag. You will need to punch holes in the bag with a sewing needle this will allow for proper drainage. The sprouts will need to be rinsed twice daily, allowed to drain, and placed in a cool dark place to grow. When the sprouts are 3 to 5 days old they are ready to eat.

Tortoises are especially fond of the following sprouts:
• Mung Bean
• Alfalfa
• Melon
• Sunflower
• Lentils
• Pinto
• Peas

The melon seeds are removed from musk melon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon and dried in the sun. Moog Bean, Sunflower, Pinto, and melon seeds need to be soaked in water for 12 hours prior to the twice-daily rinsing.

In order to encourage healthy eating habits offer a variety of these foods mixed well.


Drinking and soaking water should be provided for adult tortoises at all times. This can be a shallow container such as a terra cotta saucer (Like those used under flower pots, approximately 12” X 2″) that the tortoise can sit in and easily get out of. It is also helpful if the water container is sunken into the ground. To drink the tortoise often immerse their mouths and then swallows repeatedly for 5-10 minutes.

Tortoises often urinate after eating & or drinking. It is important to make sure the water dish and feeding area are cleared of any and all fecal matter.

Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Please visit Animal Medical Center of Corona:

Animal Medical Center of Corona

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